While I am not someone who tends to believe that anything is preordained or controlled by fate, I do hold fast to the idea that there are no coincidences. Sure events “coincide” all the time. But I am referring to those things that set people back on their heels and lead them to say, “Wow, that’s amazing” when two seemingly unrelated occurrences happen at the very same moment.
It takes a certain level of attention to find yourself in a place where you can conclude “interconnectiveness” instead of “coincidence,” but it is just as reasonable to lean the one way as it the other. And I would argue that it is healthier to believe the in the existence of the former so that one can see all things as related which should lead to a heightened level of responsibility to 1) look for the nexus and 2) remind oneself that he/she is part of a greater whole.
The other day I had a dream about someone I knew years ago and with whom I no longer have contact. While I did not actually “see” this former acquaintance in my dream, the scene in my sleeping head was of my asking someone else about this person. I wanted to know whether I was thought of and missed; I wanted to hear that my absence is still felt and that questions remain about what might have happened “if only.” My dreamscape inquiry did not yield any satisfactory answers, so I woke with the same questions in mind and briefly considered whether I should contact the person I saw in my dream to ask about the former acquaintance.
(Side note: I recommend that one never act upon any thought within a hour of waking. Much like being intoxicated, the residue of sleep can give the recent dreamer a sort of “liquid courage” that is as regrettable as playing drinking games with vodka.)
Instead of reaching out and trying to satisfy my curiosity (and likely seriously embarrassing myself), I did nothing. I let it go, let it evaporate and disperse.
But then . . . I saw the object of my dream. And that person saw me.
Separated within our individual vehicles, I wasn’t sure it was the person until I noticed the strained smile in the rearview mirror. There was the very same person I had just finished dreaming of hours before.
While many would chalk this up to a “coincidence,” I don’t. I can’t.
I have had too many experiences like this to think that they magically happen right around the same time. Now I certainly don’t believe that I have some supernatural power to dream about someone and then cause that same someone to cross my path. I, instead, choose to believe that because I had just had that dream that I was hyper-observant in the wake of that overnight experience to see what might otherwise have been before me and unobserved in the days and weeks before.
Maybe our paths had been crossing time and time again?
Maybe I transformed one of those subconscious observations of our “meeting” into thoughts that provided the foundation of my dream?
Maybe had I been more attuned to my surroundings, I would have “seen” this person?
And it’s all chicken and egg, right? Which came first and which followed?
Ultimately, perhaps the order of the unfolding is immaterial. What is important, in my opinion, is the active engagement of an open mind to see that there is a connection and not a quick summation that this was a “coincidence.”
There’s no fun in letting life happen “to you” when you have the entitlement to believe that no matter how attenuated circumstances might be that in some small way, you control your experience by adjusting your belief system and powers of observation.